Assessing plant uptake and accumulation of PFAS from soils amended with biosolids

MSU researcher Hui Li explored PFAS contamination in vegetable and grain crops.

Researcher: Hui Li
Awarded: $40,000
Leveraged: $1,982,460

Recently, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in surface and ground waters in Michigan has become a major environmental issue because they can be consumed by humans through drinking water and food. Irrigation with PFAS-contaminated water causes the accumulation of PFAS in vegetables and crops. But more importantly, many industrial discharges and daily living activities bring PFAS into municipal water resource recovery facilities (WRRF). The current WRRF treatment processes cannot effectively remove PFAS, resulting in wide dissemination to surface waters and retention in biosolids as well.

The research objectives were to evaluate the uptake and accumulation of PFAS in vegetables and grain crops from the soils amended with biosolids. Researchers tested two extraction methods to quantify a suite of PFAS types in lettuce tissues. A review paper summarized the research progress about plant uptake of PFAS from soil and water, while also identifying knowledge gaps.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture funding was leveraged to continue this work.

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